Alternate Medicaid Proposal Heard By Mo. House Committee | St. Louis Public Radio

Alternate Medicaid Proposal Heard By Mo. House Committee

Mar 25, 2013

Supporters and opponents spent several hours Monday testifying on an alternate Medicaid proposal being floated by House Republicans.

House Bill 700 would expand Medicaid coverage to an additional 180,000 Missourians while removing about 44,000 children from the Medicaid rolls.  In addition, private insurers would compete to provide coverage for Medicaid recipients, who could then get cash incentives for staying healthy and avoiding costly medical procedures.  Several groups that have backed Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) call to expand Medicaid to 259,000 Missourians next year also testified in favor of the House GOP alternative.  Lobbyist Brent Hemphill represents the Missouri Ambulance Association.

“Our organization represents most of the ambulance providers, predominantly ambulance districts, (in Missouri)," Hemphill told the House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability.  "We don’t necessarily agree with everything in the bill, but we think it’s a good start and we need to continue to move this forward.”

The bill is sponsored by committee chairman Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City).

Opponents continued to voice support for expanding Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, instead of 100 percent as the GOP bill would do.  Michelle Trupiano of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri also says it contains a provision that would eliminate the Uninsured Women’s Health Program.

“It’s a 90-10 match through the federal government, and it provides life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams, and birth control services," Trupiano said.  "To take away these services that they currently have access to, I think, will be detrimental.”

The bill calls for eliminating the program with the understanding that services would be available under the health care exchange the federal government will eventually set up for Missouri.  Trupiano says, though, that some women will "fall through the cracks," and that the Uninsured Women's Health Program should still be preserved.

A committee vote is expected next week.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport